Original BBC TV Studios at Alexandra Palace

The British Broadcasting Corporation has always been a technical pioneer. Occupying an imposing hill site with views across London, Alexandra Palace was an excellent location to broadcast from.

A few years later and the next experimental communication field was the moving pictures of television which were first broadcast from Alexandra Palace in 1936. There’s more history on the Alexandra Palace website.

Occasional tours are now run of the two surviving TV studios which are now being restored.

Building Plans

The building plans on this page are photographs of those displayed on the wall around the studio site.

EMI Studio

EMI’s television broadcast technology was one of two to be tested in the studios. It occupied what would become Studio A.

In the corner where visitors first enter, there is a studio setup as it would of been in the early days of television.

In the middle of the studio, close to the ceiling, is a black gangway on to which the studio lights were mounted.

Diagonally opposite across the room from the historic studio setup there is a glass window at the top of the wall. This was the control room, reached by a vertical ladder from the central area.

Central Area and Exterior Corridor

Building plans show the central area between Studios A and B has had a variety of uses since they came into being.

Baird Studio

In Studio B was to be found the Baird system, the rival to the EMI television system in the studio next door.

The BBC could not decide between the two systems, so a trial was run at Alexandra Palace to see which was best.

John Logie Baird is the Scottish inventor and electrical engineer credited with the invention of television, both in its original black and white form and then later in colour.

Carpenter’s Graffiti

A carpenter working at Alexandra Palace obviously did not feel his wages were enough. His pencilled graffiti can be seen preserved behind glass by some of the uncovered original wall decoration:

“The wages of sin is death
The wages of the Carpenter is worse”

Main Corridor

Linking the studios, dressing rooms and offices is the central corridor.

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